Pollution problems hit Madrid
Madrid completely car-free following anti-pollution parking ban
MADRID'S radical anti-pollution plan means the city streets resemble a Sunday afternoon rather than a working day, locals report – parking has been banned within the M-30 ringroad, or the central 'oval' of the city, except for residents and the disabled.
Mixed feelings have been provoked by the sudden parking ban, which carries a €90 fine if ignored.
Those who live in the city are delighted with the extra parking spaces suddenly available to them, and traffic jams have disappeared literally overnight.
Getting from A to B in taxi or bus is much quicker and easier, and the whole city has a more relaxed feel about it, say workers, tourists and residents.
But the downside has been that all public transport routes are now packed.
The frequency of metro trains has not increased, and when they arrive, it is often impossible even to get on board, especially during rush hour.
Those who have further to go to get to work say they are now spending more time on the train, the metro and then the bus than at home.
Hospitals are an exception – 'parking police' have been told to 'be sensitive' and 'in no case' to fine or ban patients or their companions or visitors from parking.
Other measures aimed at reducing air contamination – said to multiply safe levels recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) – include advising the elderly not to exercise outside, and dropping the speed limit from 90 kilometres per hour to 70 on the M-30 network and on roads leading into the capital within the M-40 ringroad.
Did you have to change your travel plans today?
What do you think of the measure that the city hall has taken?